Outfitting would begin on the warship after completing the undersea work
India’s Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), unprecedented in terms of size and complexity of design as compared to any indigenous warship project till date, will be launched on August 12 at Kochi.
With the IAC project, India will join the select club of nations like the U.S., France, Russia and the U.K., who are capable of designing and building 40,000-tonne aircraft carriers.
Being built by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), the warship will be fitted with Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR SAM) system with multi-function radar and Close-in Weapon System (CIWS), Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral R.K. Dhowan told journalists here on Thursday. Besides, the IAC will have a crew of MiG 29K fighter jets, the naval version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), and helicopters. It would also be equipped with early air warning radar and direction finding systems.
The much-delayed INS Vikramaditya, formerly Admiral Gorshkov, also having a displacement of 45,000 tonnes, is likely to be handed over to the Navy by Russia before this year-end. The Indian Navy, which already operates INS Viraat, will then have two aircraft carriers. If all goes well, IAC, after extensive sea trials in 2016, will be commissioned by 2018, the time when Viraat would have clocked the time for its decommissioning.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who had laid the keel of the IAC on February 28, 2009, had said: “Navy modernisation is one area where we are going fast-paced now.”
“We are supporting the Navy so that it can meet all challenges successfully. The Navy will see a new age of more inductions in the years to come. It will protect the national interest in the Indian Ocean and elsewhere,” Mr. Antony had said.
The launch of the IAC on August 12 would mean that outfitting would begin on the warship after completing the undersea work like its hull and propellers. The IAC is being constructed using high-strength steel developed indigenously with the help of DRDO and SAIL. “The design of the warship has been undertaken by the Directorate of Naval Design which has an experience of 50 years in designing 18 different classes of warships. At present, 46 ships and submarines are under construction in different public sector and private shipyards of the country,” Vice Admiral Dhowan said.
The indigenous warship has a length of 260 metres and a maximum breadth of 60 metres. It would be propelled by two shafts, each coupled to two LM 2500 gas turbines developing power to attain speeds in excess of 28 knots. It would have two take off runways and a landing strip with three arrester wires. The IAC is designed with a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, navigation and survivability.